Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Oct 30, 2011                             "The Beauty of Nothing!" To Listen the Audio with this Great Sermon click"  "Here"
Sun PM Worship           God needs nothing but he always chooses something

Text: 2 Kings 4:1-7   (King James Version)

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                                       The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;"

 

2 Kings 4:1   Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.

2 Kings 4:2   And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil.

2 Kings 4:3   Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.

2 Kings 4:4   And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.

2 Kings 4:5   So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.

2 Kings 4:6   And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.

2 Kings 4:7   Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.

 

Let's pray. Father,

Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

In our text...
A man died / left his wife penniless / she had no husband / no money /no food /no income / no government program to apply to and no prospects for improvement.

 

 Poverty has the potential to drive people to desperation
 Desperation is a two pronged road
 People can either of two things..
 They can do things that they will later regret
 Or the can go to a place where they can get help

APPLICATION: This woman was at the end of her rope but in her desperation she cried out to someone who could possibly help her.
She cried out to the prophet –
the man who represented the voice of God

All she had was 2 sons, and the creditors were about to come take them as slaves (the law allowed for this). But she had one more thing: a little pot of oil. Every other pot in the house was empty! The vessels. The jar's, The cupboards, Their pockets and their purse.
It was only In her emptiness or nothingness, she went to the Prophet Elisha..Only then did she learn something about nothing! Only then did she learn what God can do with an empty vessel!

If this woman would have had any other options this story would have read very different.  It is only in our brokenness are emptied of ourselves and filled with something supernatural. It is hard to fill a cup that is already full. We will never truly experience the fullness of God until we are emptied of self. It is only in our brokenness that the heart cries are cries of desperation. The first thing that leaks out of us during our brokenness is Pride. For it is Pride that goes before the fall.. It is Pride that causes God to resist us and the only way to empty ourselves of pride is to first be broken and realize our dilemma.

 

Proverbs 16:18   Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

 

James 4:6   (b) Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

 

The Second thing that is emptied in brokenness is the root of bitterness.

Hebrews 12:15   Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

 

This is a KILLER 2nd only to PRIDE. The first person you get mad at is GOD! Somebody said this or that about me and I ain't never going back to church again.

When you harbor a root of bitterness towards someone it's like you drinking a glass of arsenic or strychnine poison thinking it is going to kill the person you are harboring this root of bitterness against! It is a Killer Church and this woman could have got mad at God or mad at friends or family for not coming to the rescue, But she didn't She went to Church in her brokenness and her emptiness now in total desperation. So that leads me to the Key word of this unique story!

v. 3 "empty" The prophet did not tell her to go try and borrow food from neighbors / oil (like money back then) / money / get a loan..he said to go and borrow as many empty jars as possible.

It was like the Prophet Elisha was saying, lady, you certainly do have a lot of emptiness in your life..BUT YOU STILL DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH EMPTINESS! So DO SOMETHING, Go gather together some more emptiness, go back to your empty house / empty cupboards, and close the door behind you and those 2 boys that are about to be "emptied" out of your house, and I want you to see what God can do with emptiness.

The story continues: she set out all those empty jars and vessels, took her little jar of oil and poured it into one of the empty jars. It was filled full, and yet her little jar wasn't empty. She filled the 2nd / 3rd / 4th / many more? Finally, she said, hand me another, and her son said, that's it, there's no more emptiness!

Notice what happened when there was no more emptiness..
v. 6b "stayed"= "The Oil stopped flowing"


This is how God always chooses to meet the material and financial needs of His people and  (He's never once failed / he never will..for He'd be a liar if He ever didn't meet your needs as He's promised)!

But let's make a spiritual application from this story:
If you are not experiencing God's presence in your life, it may be that you're not "empty" enough! We serve a Lord that specializes in filling emptiness!

In creation He flung the universe into an expanse of emptiness / He hung the stars upon nothing (He turned nothing into something, then hung it on nothing!)

In the Gospel of John. Chapter 6—you find a lot of empty stomachs (likely 15,000 plus)
I know what it is like to be hungry and not have anything to eat. I grew up with a large family and sometime you had to get what you could before what was there was gone. I was always the runt of the litter so I had to develop different means of survival. Here we have 4 plans offered:


1. Disciples said, let's just get rid of the problem..tell them to go away SHOW THE PICTURE
Jesus said, that's not it, they'll faint on the way home..they're running on empty.
2. Phillip said, let's raise the money. He did some figuring and found it would take 200 days' wages to buy enough bread. (
money's not the solution to every problem..it can't buy everything! House / not a home; bed / not good night's sleep; medicine / not health; beautiful church bldg. / not the power of God!)

3.
Andrew found little boy w/ small lunch, and said, it's not much, but it's a start!

4. Jesus had the true solution as he took the little boy's lunch and demonstrated that little is much when God is in it!
In all 4 gospels,
Jesus gave thanks prior to even breaking the bread..showing the multitudes that only God can fill their emptiness!

We serve a Lord that specializes in filling emptiness!

In Jn. 2 He filled some empty wash pots..at a wedding feast, a village event that the whole city came out for in those days. There was a festive mood until the unthinkable happened: the host ran out of wine and the people began to scurry about, whispering about the problem, until the whole crowd knew and the host was embarrassed!
The Lord let them scramble for a while before bringing the solution..He allowed them to feel their emptiness / inadequacy..He waited until they ran out of options, and then He took empty water pots, filled them w/ water, and then worked the miracle!

 

The Samaritan woman at the well WAS Empty but she got filled.

 

Blind Bartimaeus Was empty and desperate and cried the more when the disciples told him to hush up.

 

The woman with the issue of blood was empty and desperate for just a touch and she got filled.

 

The joy that the world has to offer is always just temporary..it always runs out, the result is always a void left over..emptiness. But the joy of the Lord is ever new and ever satisfying!


The world offers you its best at first..until you get hooked, and then it's all downhill from there.

"The best day you'll ever spend in sin will be the 1st day"
Heb. 11 talks about the pleasures of sin "for a season"
Prov. 14:13
Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
Pr 20:17
Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
But Jesus gives a miraculous joy that never ends. He gives us His best from the start, and somehow, miraculously makes the joy grow and get even better!
Truly, every day w/ Jesus is sweeter than the day before / the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows!

Jesus took water pots that were used in those days for external washing, and made them useful for something internal, something deeper and more satisfying. He created something fulfilling..and He used emptiness to do it!
We serve a Lord that specializes in filling emptiness!

Are you empty? If you're not experiencing intimacy w/ Christ on a daily basis..it may be that, though you feel empty..you're not empty enough!

Intimacy is an impossibility if we harbor sin in our lives.
Before intimacy can flow like oil, in unending supply, there must be recognition of sin / confession of sin / forsaking of sin!
Ps. 66:18
If I regard (cherish / tolerate / foster) iniquity in my heart..the Lord will not hear me.

I'm not talking about some state of sinless perfection..but that you don't have an ongoing sin in your life that you've just learned to tolerate.

And, by the way, confessing and repenting of sin doesn't make us deserve God's blessings and His intimacy..it just helps to qualify us to receive it by His grace! (But He cannot fill a sinful vessel or it would appear he condones sin or overlooks sin).

1. Intimacy w/ Christ is poured into a vessel that has been emptied of self and sin.

2. Emptied of self.

George Mueller exemplified emptiness of self. Known for his great prayer life, he was often asked about it. He once answered...
"there was a day when I died..I died to George Mueller, his opinions, his preferences, his tastes, his will..I died to the world and it's approval..I died to the approval of my friends..and since then I have studied only to be approved unto God!"

Total, complete surrender and intimacy w/ Christ go hand in hand!

William Booth, founder of Salvation Army, was asked for the secret of his success. With tears he answered,

"God has had all there was of me to have. There have been men w/ greater opportunities, but I made up my mind that God was going to have all there is of William Booth. If there is truly any power in the Salvation Army today, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life."

Ladies and gentlemen, we will never find intimacy w/ Christ until we stop bowing down to the shrine of self!

You won't find it at this altar, if you are just gonna get up and bow to the shrine of self tonight  you won't find it tonight , if you bow to the shrine of self on Monday at work or at school! / you won't find it during the day Monday, when all you're looking forward to is bowing at the shrine of self called the TV that evening! / you won't find it at all any day this week, if you're planning on bowing to the shrine of self w/ your plans for next weekend!

What happens when a Christian is emptied of self?
* They are filled w/ spiritual understanding.
Jn. 7
17 If any man will do his will (full surrender), he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God

Nothing blinds your spiritual vision like self-will!
Nothing clears spiritual vision like total surrender!

I've known too many people who struggle over a decision in their life for weeks, months, even years..their problem seemed unsolvable / mountains uncrossable / rivers impassable..and they spent their days saying, "what do I do, which way do I turn? I can't seem to get the mind of God on this matter!"


Then they realize there is an area of self-will in their life. They had given the Lord every area of their life except for that one area!
And when they dealt w/ it, it was like the blinders came off / spiritual cataract surgery / their vision was no longer clouded / what was as dark as night before..all of a sudden became the brightness of the noonday sun, once that area was fully surrendered!

* They are filled w/ joy!
Jn. 15 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Yes, total surrender and joy go hand in hand!

You see some professing Christians come to church w/ a face so long that it'd take a week to shave it..a complete absence of joy..chances are, they aren't walking in victory / fully surrendered / they're holding on to self in some area.
There's no joy in being a half-hearted Christian / riding the fence.
You've got just enough Jesus that you can't enjoy the world, and just enough of the world that you can't enjoy Jesus!

They're like Israel, wandering all their lives in the wilderness / meandering. They're deprived of the leeks, garlic, and melons of Egypt, but they also don't have the milk and honey of the Promised Land..what a wretched, miserable place to be!

Make a total surrender of self and you'll have joy unspeakable!

Filled  w/ joy / understanding..

* Filled w/ God's intimate presence!
Jn. 14
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

The Lord says, make a total and complete surrender and I will manifest myself to you..I will become very real, personal, intimate w/ you..you will experience Me like you never dreamed!

The oil of intimacy / sweet fellowship, is only poured into a vessel that has been emptied of sin / emptied of self..

3. Emptied of substitutes.

Be careful, often we try to substitute service for surrender / work for worship..and Martha becomes Mary when she drops her "to do list" and falls at the feet of Jesus!
Serving is good and right, but don't let yourself get so busy doing things for Christ that you neglect spending time with Christ!

Some of you are busy, but not blessed. And as a result, you're running on empty..but evidently, you're not empty enough!

All work and no worship makes Jack a grumpy, disgruntled, over-sensitive, burned-out Christian.

Are you empty?
Empty yourself of sin / self / substitutes!

Empty yourself out on this altar (toxic waste dump)
Empty the sin, the self, all substitutes...then ask God to fill you and use you!

 

When you think your vessels are empty and you have nothing, there are people who are worse off than you
You can always find someone who is more needy than you are.

B."Shut the door behind you.."
 Avoid distractions
 Don't let the left hand know what the right hand is doing
 Get your children involved

C."Pour it into all those vessels.."
 Start pouring into someone else's life

CONCLUSION: When the woman started pouring she found that she had more than enough.
When we start putting others before us God starts to work in our lives
This woman had nothing but a little jar of oil
Oil represents the Holy Spirit..and if you have that you have more than enough
God wants you to start blessing someone for therein lies your blessing